Learn Ulster-Scots

Lesson 5 Food and Drink

In this lesson, you will learn about:

  • examples of food and drink
  • ordering food in a restaurant
  • discussing eating habits
  • food and drink in Ulster & Scots poetry
  • finding Ulster-Scots recipes



Food and Drink: Basic Vocabulary

Ait
to eat
Chow
to chew
Breid
bread
Creesh
grease
Creeshy biscuits
butter biscuits
Shoartbreid
short bread
Dipped breid
fried bread
Bannock
roundish loaf eg of wheaten bread
Bap
baker's roll
Fadge
potato bread
Prootas; prittas
potatoes
Watter
water
Bile
to boil
Brochan
porridge
Neeps
turnips
Pa’snips
parsnips
Kail
cabbage
Epple
apple
Saft fruit
ripe blackberries, strawberries etc
Guissgabs
gooseberries
Nits
nuts
Deuk
duck
Herr’n
herring
Flattie
plaice
Blockan
coalfish
Lythe
pollack
Croobin
crab
Wullicks
whelks
Kitchen
seasoning; relish (as verb: to season)
Saut
salt
Sass
sauce
Tay
tea
Wat tha tay
make tea
Milk strecht fae tha coo
milk straight from the cow
Soordook
buttermilk
Shugar
sugar
Denner
dinner (may be used to mean lunch/mid-day meal)
Sit-doon tay
a meal at the table
Yer tay in yer haun
a cup of tea not at the table
Piece
packed lunch (sandwiches)
Forenuin piece
morning snack
Aitin hoose
restaurant
Stairter
starter/first course
Puddin
dessert
Slider
ice cream wafer
Carryoot
takeaway meal
Gorb
to eat greedily
Boord
table
Grummel
crumble
Delf
crockery or china
Dook
to dip
Soor
sour
Teuch
tough
Saft
tender
Coarn
corn
Jaa box
kitchen sink
bake
biscuit

Dialogue 1: Aitin oot

Here is a conversation which might be heard in a restaurant. See if you can work out what is happening. Eileen and Sam walk into a new restaurant which has just opened in town. Answers to the questions are at the bottom.

Eileen
It’s quare an gran here.
Sam
Sure ye’r worth ivery penny.
Waiter
Wud ye be readie tae order?
Sam
Ay. A'll hae tha beef and prootas wi neeps.
Waiter
An yersel madam
Eileen
All hae tha deuk a l’orange, please.
Waiter
Wud ye lek ocht tae drink?
Eileen
Naethin fur me, thanks.
Sam
A’d lek a wee gless o rid wine.
Waiter
Is there oniethin else A can get ye?
Sam
No thanks
  1. What is Sam’s reaction to the restaurant?
  2. What does Sam order from the menu?
  3. What does Eileen decide to order?
  4. How does the waiter ask if they would like anything to drink?
  5. Does anyone order a drink? If so, what is it?

Dialogue 2: In the fruit an veg shap

Mary and Alice discuss the food fads and table manners of Alice’s children. Try to translate the passage and answer the questions. This will help you identify some characteristic Ulster-Scots expressions, word order and verb forms. A translation and answers are at the bottom.

Mary
Whit can a dae fur ye Alice?
Alice
A’ll tak seiven pun wecht o’ prootas, sae a wull, an thon muckle neep forbye.
Mary
Whit aboot yer carrots an pa’snips, or are ye no makkin broth the day?
Alice
A luv a wheen o broth mysel, but d’ye see ma weans, they’re despert hard tae please.
Mary
Ye’re owre saft wi’ them, Alice. Whit dae they lek?
Alice
Noo yer askin’! The lassie’s ae thranlike wee skitter! She winnae ait flesh-mate ava. She says it’s gye teuch. Ice cream’s no teuch, min ye!
Mary
A wudnae gie her oany puddin if she winnae ait her denner. Whit wye’s the weechiel?
Alice
He’s waur nor the lassie, an he taks efter his faither forbye. He sits chowin wi his mooth apen. Thon scunners me!
Mary
Ye hae yer hauns fu wi thae twa, Alice!
Alice
Ye’re no wrang, Mary!
  1. How does Alice indicate the quantity of potatoes she wants?
  2. What word at the end of a sentence means ‘as well as’ - used when Alice is selecting her vegetables and describing her son?
  3. What phrase does Alice use to give a strong emphasis when she introduces the subject of her children?
  4. What word is used to mean ‘those’?
  5. The present tense of ‘will’ is ‘wull’ in Ulster-Scots. Can you find the word that means ‘will not/won’t’?
  6. Ulster-Scots speakers sometimes emphasise an opinion or feeling using understatement, eg. using ‘no’ plus a word of opposite meaning. Thus, ‘It’s cold’ might be expressed as ‘It’s no wairm’. Where does Alice use this form to express her agreement with Mary?

Cultural links

North Street

Towns in Ulster-Scots heartlands such as the Ards Peninsula have restored some of the traditional street names. This one from Greyabbey or ‘Greba’ seems to be commemorating a less than satisfactory experience of local food!


Literary links: Food and drink in traditional poetry

In Lesson 1 we looked briefly at Burns’s ‘Address to a Haggis’. Such traditional local food was celebrated in Scots and Ulster-Scots poetry because it helped to foster people’s sense of pride in their national identity. Robert Burns also wrote in praise of whisky, or ‘Scotch Drink’:

Let other poets raise a fracas
‘Bout vines, an’ wines, an’ drunken Bacchus,
An’ crabbed names an’ stories wrack us,
An’ grate our lug,
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
In glass or jug...

On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In souple scones, the wale o’ food!
Or tumbling in the boiling flood
wi’ kale an’ beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heart’s blood,
There thou shines chief.

 
 
 
 
barley
 

cud
choicest
 
 
 
 



Several generations before the Famine made the potato a symbol of the suffering of the poor in Ireland, James Orr celebrated the humble root vegetable as a kind of ‘super food’ which nourished and empowered the poorest classes. In his ode ‘To the Potatoe’ (Orr's spelling) he portrayed it as an icon, claiming it gave Ireland the opportunity to feed herself and assert independence. In the following verse he shows how welcome a tasty meal of ‘champ’ is to hungry farm labourers:

Sweet to the boons that blythely enter
At dinner-time, the graise in centre,
Champ’t up wi’ kail, that pey the planter,
Beans, pa’snips, peas!
Gosh! Cud a cautious Covenanter
Wait for the grace?

gang of workers
 
reward
 
devout Presbyterian with strong Calvinist views



James Campbell, the weaver Bard of Ballynure and a contemporary of Orr, added pork or bacon to the list of foods worthy of a poetic ode. As we can see from the following verse he was a fan of the ‘Ulster fry’!

Thy praise, O bacon! shall be sung,
Unto new life thou hast me brung;
To see my brace wi' flitches strung,
Just in my sight;
My auld pan shall be neatly hung
This very night...

Some like their spirits up to cheer,
With good strong whiskey, or brown beer,
Some like their brains for to keep clear,
By wine applying;
Nae music ever charmed my ear,
Like pork a frying.

(From ‘The Epicure’s Address to Bacon’)


Hame cookin

Ulster and Scots people are world famous for their hospitality and tasty cooking. To find some recipes, new and old, which make use of traditional ingredients see the Ulster-Scots Agency's website. Go to the resource/booklet titled ‘Prootas and Fadge Workbook’.


Translation of dialogue 1 and answers to questions

Eating out

Eileen
It’s very grand/ posh in here.
Sam
Sure, you’re worth every penny.
Waiter
May I take your order now?
Sam
Yes. I’ll have the steak and potatoes with turnip.
Waiter
And for you, madam?
Eileen
I’ll have the duck a l’orange, please.
Waiter
Would you like anything to drink with the meal?
Eileen
Nothing for me, thank you.
Sam
I’d like a glass of red wine, please.
Waiter
Is there anything else I can get for you?
Sam
No thanks

Answers

  1. He thinks it is rather grand and’ posh’ looking.
  2. Sam orders steak and potatoes with some turnip.
  3. Eileen decides to order the duck a l’orange.
  4. He asks “Wud ye lek ocht tae drink?”
  5. Yes. Sam orders a glass of red wine.

Translation of dialogue 2 and answers to questions

Mary
What can I do for you Alice?
Alice
I’ll take seiven pounds of potatoes, so I will, and that big turnip as well.
Mary
What about your carrots and parsnips, or are you not making soup today?
Alice
I love a drop of soup myself, but see my children, they’re terribly hard to please.
Mary
You’re too indulgent with them, Alice. What do they like?
Alice
Now you’re asking! The girl is one stubborn little rascal. She won’t eat meat at all. She says it’s very tough. Ice cream’s not tough, mind you!
Mary
I wouldn’t give her any dessert if she won’t eat her dinner. What’s the little boy like?
Alice
He’s worse than the girl, and he resembles his father too. He sits chewing with his mouth open. That disgusts me!
Mary
You have your hands full with those two, Alice!
Alice
You’re right, Mary!

Answers

  1. She asks for ‘seiven pun wecht’ – literally seven pounds weight
  2. ‘Forbye’
  3. She begins ‘D’ye see’ to involve the listener before she talks about her ‘weans’.
  4. ‘Thae’
  5. ‘Winnae’
  6. ‘Ye’re no wrang’

Other Lessons

Lesson 1

Meeting and Greeting

Meeting and Greeting
  • greet people in Ulster-Scots
  • introduce yourself
  • talk about where you come from
  • count in Ulster-Scots

Go to this lesson: Meeting and Greeting


Lesson 2

Self, Family and Friends

Self, Family and Friends
  • nouns for family members
  • nouns for parts of the body
  • describing appearance
  • describing yourself, family & friends

Go to this lesson: Self, Family and Friends


Lesson 3

Moods, Feelings and Clothes

Moods, Feelings and Clothes
  • moods, feelings & characteristics
  • words for items of clothing
  • talking about appearance
  • traditional Ulster & Scots dress
  • clothing & characteristics in Scots & Ulster-Scots poetry

Go to this lesson: Moods, Feelings and Clothes


Lesson 4

Hobbies, Interests and Work

Hobbies, Interests and Work
  • describing hobbies & interests
  • words for some jobs
  • working life & leisure time
  • traditional Ulster-Scots pastimes
  • traditional pastimes and jobs in Ulster & Scots poetry

Go to this lesson: Hobbies, Interests and Work


Lesson 6

Weather and Seasons

Weather and Seasons
  • words for types of weather
  • weather conditions
  • words for different seasons
  • seasonal activities
  • the weather in Scots & Ulster literature

Go to this lesson: Weather and Seasons


Lesson 7

Nouns and Names

Nouns and Names
  • buildings
  • parts of the face and head
  • The Coortin’ o Miss Norris

Go to this lesson: Nouns and Names


Lesson 8

Meeting and Greeting (2)

Meeting and Greeting (2)
  • Meeting and Greeting (2)
  • The Coortin’ o Miss Norris - Practice Reading and Dialogue
  • Markers of Ulster-Scots

Go to this lesson: Meeting and Greeting (2)


Lesson 9

Grammar and Pronunciation

Grammar and Pronunciation
  • the Definite Article before a Noun
  • spelling and pronunciation
  • saying, doing and being

Go to this lesson: Grammar and Pronunciation


Lesson 10

Pronouns - and Linen-Making

Pronouns - and Linen-Making
  • Pronouns
  • A Byre o a Hoose
  • Tha makkin o tha lïnen

Go to this lesson: Pronouns - and Linen-Making


Lesson 11

A closer look at Dialect (1)

A closer look at Dialect (1)
  • what is dialect
  • when to use dialect speech
  • dialects in Ulster?
  • dialect spelling
  • ‘language versus dialect’

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (1)


Lesson 12

A closer look at Dialect (2)

A closer look at Dialect (2)
  • what good is it learning about dialect?
  • country matters
  • farming vocabulary
  • farming practices of old

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (2)


Lesson 13

A closer look at Dialect (3)

A closer look at Dialect (3)
  • words with a story
  • what’s in a name?
  • Ulster ‘crack’
  • scunner, sheugh and black-mouth

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (3)


Lesson 14

A closer look at Dialect (4)

A closer look at Dialect (4)
  • similes
  • forms of ‘be’ and ‘do’
  • Match the meanings
  • Wordsearch
  • The Minister’s Cat
  • Call my Bluff

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (4)